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Are Dental Injuries Compensable?

Dental injuries are compensable provided a dental expert can explain the nature and extent of the injury and say whether there is a causative link to the accident. For this a detailed medical records analysis is necessary. The expert will also recommend the treatment(s) required as a result of the injury. Though in the category of smaller injuries, tooth damage and other dental injuries caused in an accident can receive due compensation. Dental injuries can be wide-ranging and varied. A UK-based law firm hodge jones and allen (www.hja.net) highlights an interesting case involving a gentleman who ordered pheasant at an expensive London restaurant, and bit into a pellet which broke a tooth. They also speak of a child who fell from a defective climbing frame and broke several teeth, and adults who have been victims of assault and sustained dental and facial injuries.

Dental Injuries

Types of Dental Injuries

Tooth damages for which you could receive a fair compensation include the following:

  • Broken teeth
  • Chipped/cracked teeth
  • Lacerated lips
  • Permanent lip scarring

Dental injuries can stem from a vehicle accident, assault or battery, or premises liability claims such as slip and fall injuries. To calculate the value of the claim, a personal injury attorney’s help is necessary. Two important factors when it comes to valuing the injury are the extent of the tooth damage and how likely it is that the jury will find the defendant liable.

Often, in more serious cases, there could be a fractured jaw involved leading to jaw displacement and issues such as altered bite, numbness and even the risk of osteoarthritis. Such injuries would require the opinion of specialists such as consultant maxillofacial surgeon, dental surgeon, and a consultant psychiatrist. Mental trauma created by serious dental injuries can be severe, especially if the individual loses several front teeth and becomes reluctant to attend work and interact socially. Delays in treatment can make such concerns worse. Such cases could receive a more significant compensation.

Factors that Count when Determining the Compensation

It is difficult to calculate the exact compensation for a dental injury, and ultimately it is the jury that has the final word on how much money the defendant must pay the injured plaintiff.

  • Damages such as medical bills and lost wages may be easier to estimate because they are “concrete” and are based on the amount the plaintiff demonstrates he/she has paid and will continue to pay.
  • On the other hand, pain and suffering are less concrete damages and often are paid based on similar tooth damage cases in the past.
  • How the tooth damage affects the plaintiff is another important consideration when valuing damages. Apart from physical pain, there could be negative repercussions on the plaintiff’s life.
    • The plaintiff may have his/her eating abilities and habits altered permanently.
    • They may suffer a cosmetic concern that affects their wellbeing or work

Accurate documentation of the dental injury is very important so as to enable the jury to evaluate the injury on the basis of photos or X-rays, and also by reviewing the testimony of dental experts. Plaintiffs must ensure that their dentist or oral surgeon has in place clear medical records of the entire treatment. Any head injury sustained must be clearly documented because it will increase the value of the claim.

As mentioned earlier, the jury should find the defendant liable at trial. This is possible only if the plaintiff can present solid evidence that the defendant was at fault for the plaintiff’s dental injury. If the plaintiff is also found guilty to some extent for the accident, the final settlement amount may be reduced by the specific percentage of fault.

The service of a personal injury lawyer is immensely supportive to injured plaintiffs when it comes to arriving at a clear understanding and evaluation of the dental injury case. Lawyers ensure that they understand all the medical facts by associating with medical experts provided by a medical review company. These expert physicians can evaluate the merit of medical cases, and provide comprehensive medical opinions that determine the outcome of personal injury cases.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are based on reliable internet sources, and are not the inferences or conclusions of MOS (Managed Outsource Solutions) or any of its stakeholders. For professional legal counsel, consult a personal injury lawyer.

 

     

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